And so it begins. And continues.
After months worth of speculation, it was confirmed earlier this week that Jalen Hurts‘s name has been entered into the NCAA transfer database, signaling that the quarterback is indeed looking to move on from Alabama. Friday, multiple media outlets were reporting that Hurts will take visits to both Maryland and Miami this weekend.
There was visual evidence of Hurts’ visit to the Terps as he took in a hoops game Friday night. The visit to Maryland is expected to extend into Saturday, with a trip to Miami reportedly in the offing for Sunday.
Both of the first two visits feature connections to Hurts’ time with the Crimson Tide.
Mike Locksley, Maryland’s new head coach, spent three years at Alabama, the last as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator. Dan Enos, named as Miami’s offensive coordinator Friday, was Alabama’s quarterbacks coach in 2018 and had reportedly developed a very good relationship with Hurts.
In addition to those two schools, Auburn, Florida State, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, among others, are viewed as potential transfer destinations.
Given his experience and success at this level, Hurts, who graduated from UA last month and will be eligible immediately regardless of where he lands, being a sought-after commodity on the free-agent market is not exactly a surprise.
Hurts started every game but one in 2016 and 2017, guiding the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 record in that span. He was under center for the national championship game loss to Clemson after the 2016 season, and was in the same spot for last year’s title game against Georgia until a 13-0 halftime deficit compelled Nick Saban to pull the trigger on a change.
And the rest, as they say, is history, as Tua Tagovailoa played a significant role in a second-half comeback that was capped by the then-true freshman’s game-winning touchdown pass in the first overtime. Amidst criticism from Hurts himself, Tagovailoa won the job ahead of the 2018 season kicking off and, after finishing runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting, led the Tide into another title game loss to the Tigers earlier this month.
As Tagovailoa will be a true junior in 2019 and is firmly entrenched as the starter, that combination of factors triggered Hurts’ decision to at least explore a transfer.